For the past few months we at Pacific Rugby players have been dropping weekly content every Friday based around news circulating in the Pacific rugby environment.
This content has been well received by our followers since we started it as it keeps everyone updated with the latest stories, news and information relating to Pacific rugby, these stories have been various things like score updates, teams season progress, stand out players and other stories that may be swept under the rug by the mainstream rugby media. In this column we have selected some of our favorite pieces and share them with you.
Player development awards
Sam Slade and Mesake Doge who were the recipients of the Player Development award for their respective team sides.
Sam Slade won the Galue award for Moana Pasifika. All players are encouraged to work on their own growth and holistic development off the field during their professional playing careers. This helps them to prepare for their next chapter post rugby and it helps provide an important balance in their life away from the field Mesake Doge received the ANZ Personal Development Award which was awarded to the player that made gains on their ‘Life after Rugby’ plans.
Mesake has come through a long road of recovery and rehab since he joined the Fijian Drua. This has not stopped him from working diligently on his life after rugby goals by completing a Level 1 World Rugby Coaching Certificate. He has attended all the team Personal Development workshops. He has been steadfastly working on setting up of his small business.
Fijian Drua clinch playoff berth.
Fijian Drua defeated the Reds in a high scoring bout in Suva 41-17. This booked the Drua the 7th seed placing in the overall standings earning them a playoff berth.
The Fijian Drua had an outstanding year where they qualified for the Super Rugby Pacific playoffs in only their 2nd year in the competition. They faced the defending champion Crusaders at their ground in Christchurch and were ultimately bested. The Drua however must hold their head high after what has been a monumental season that has silenced the critics who questioned whether or not a Fijian based side could find success in this competition. Not only were the Drua great on the field but they brought their amazing culture through the expressions of their fans in the various stadiums that the Drua played in throughout the season and of course their fans at home in Suva made it arguably the hardest place for opposing teams to play. What a success this season has been!
Culture Round in Super Rugby Pacific.
Culture round returns to Super Rugby pacific. All 12 Super Rugby clubs will showcase the cultures of their teams and rugby through dance, music, cultural jerseys
and language. Fans are encouraged to embrace Culture Round in the stands, through cultural attire, a flag that represents them or by getting involved in the activities taking place at the games.
Culture Round was yet again a success as our Pasifika sides were able to celebrate their cultures on the big stage. Fijian Drua wore a new jersey with Masi designs in their clash with the Blues which also offered up other cultural entertainment.
Moana Pasifika’s homecoming.
Moana Pasifika will finally host a game on Samoan soil against the Reds in Apia. A long-held dream came true for Moana Pasifika as it will be their first game in Samoa since the team’s inception.
Moana showed flashes of excitement for the home crowd and strung together some brilliant tries but were once again unable to execute at crucial periods leaving them on the hunt for their first win of the season.
The homecoming for Moana Pasifika had been a long time in the making and it didn’t disappoint. The fans were treated to an end-to-end game, highlighted by a standout performance from former Samoa Sevens player Miracle Faiilagi, who has emerged as a star in the back row for Moana Pasifika this year. It was an awesome atmosphere and hopefully the first of many.
Pacific players winning big overseas.
La Rochelle made a 17-point comeback against Leinster to go back-to-back as Heineken Cup Champions. It was a great game with large amounts of drama in what was a very high stakes game, Leinster led from the opening kick off and it was shaping up to be a strong win for the Irish side. La Rochelle however had other ideas storming back from 17 down led by a try from the strong carrying Samoan born UJ Seuteni who was instrumental in La Rochelle clinching the cup.
On the other side Samoan international Micheal Alaalatoa was sadly on the losing side of the match for Leinster. He had a strong game but in the 78th minute was sent from the field which put the final nail in the coffin for Leinsters chances of stealing the game back in the final moments.
Another Pacific connection in the La Rochelle side is Fijian Levani Botoia who has played in the side for a number of years now making him one of the more experienced players in the La Rochelle side. Levani has also competed for Fiji at both the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World cups.
Levani will once again don the white jersey representing Fiji and will potentially face off against his La Rochelle teammate UJ Seutini who was picked for the Samoan wider squad for the Pacific Nations cup. Micheal Alaalatoa was also selected on the Samoa squad but has been stood down for his actions in the final that got him sent off, he will forgo the PNC and will likely get 1 warm up game in before the start of this years Rugby World cup held in France.
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Article written by:
Kace O’Neill & Vanessa Leota